French Polynesia Islands


French Polynesia is a collection of volcanic Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. The 118 islands that constitute the territory are scattered on a surface area as large as Europe and compose 5 groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group.

The Society Islands (Archipel de la Société) comprise two groups of islands: the Windward Islands (Îles du Vent) and the Leeward Islands (Îles Sous le Vent).

The group is a mix of mountainous islands and coral atolls spread over 720 km of the central South Pacific. The Windward Islands in the east include the mountainous islands of Tahiti upon which sits the main population centre of Papeete, the steep-sided Mehetia, and the atoll of Tetiaroa.

The Leeward Islands are comprised of the mountainous islands of Ra'iatea, Taha'a, Huahine, Bora Bora and the atolls of Maupiti, Maiao, Maupihaa, Tupai, Manuae and Motu One . Reaching 2000m altitude (6500ft) these mountain islands are surrounded by a pristine coral barrier reef.

These volcanic islands neighbour close to one another and are surrounded by turquoise-blue lagoons. Incredible diversity with outstanding natural beauty and home to extremely welcoming and friendly inhabitants.

With perfect sea and wind conditions, the tropical climate is kept pleasant by the cooling trade winds blowing all year round. The average temperature is 27°C, while water temperature is 25°C.

A sailing yacht charter in French Polynesia is without doubt the best way to explore this paradise destination. The Islands of Raiatea, Bora-Bora, Tahaa and Huahine lie just a four or five hour sail apart from Tahiti, providing easy cruising in a natural paradise. Dive into an underwater wonderland, swimming and snorkelling in lagoons teeming with tropical fish.

Inland wonders await you with villages to explore and mountains to climb for some of the most breathtaking views in the world. Whether you prefer total seclusion in a beautiful bay with white sandy beaches or a trip back through time to the islands ancient historic sites .

Bora-Bora is probably the most beautiful lagoon in the world with bright luminescent waters containing abundant marine life such as sea turtles, rays and thousands of tropical fish.

Perfect sailing conditions prevail from April through to the end of October with endless sunshine and consistent easterly trade winds. Navigation in the Leeward Islands is surprisingly easy with line of sight navigation and short distances between islands.

Entrance to the Lagoons is well marked with buoys and the area is not tidal meaning you can just relax and enjoy sailing one of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world.



» Beautiful beaches
» Line of sight navigation
» Picturesque harbours
» Abundant marine life
» Diverse sailing options
» Stunning natural environment

Weather Conditions

Climate

General weather for French Polynesia

The climate in French Polynesia is sunny and pleasant. Roughly speaking, there are two seasons: from September through May the climate is warmer and humid, while April through August is cooler and drier.

Most of the rain falls during the warmer season, but there are also many sunny days during these months, with refreshing trade winds.

The water temperature averages 79°F (26°C) in the winter and 84°F (29°C) in the summer, with less than a degree of variation from the surface down to 165 feet (50 metres).

The rainy season is wet and hot (85- 95°F or 29 - 35°C) and runs from November to April. The dry season is cooler (78 - 85°F or 25 - 29°C) and windier running from May to September. These are probably the best months to come sailing. The Leeward Islands enjoy a prevailing wind easterly wind of 15 or 20 knots, increasing to 25 knots, and the sea becoming choppy with swells of 3-5 ft (.9-1.5 m).

Swell: Usually coming from the South West with occasionally rough seas is due to crossed swell when South and East winds are blowing.


Average Conditions - French Polynesia


  JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC

High Temperature (c)

30

30

30

30

29

28

28

28

28

28

29

29

Low Temperature (c)

23

23

23

23

22

21

20

20

21

22

22

23

Precipitation (mm)

315

233

195

140

92

60

60

48

46

90

162

317

Average Sunshine Hours

6

7

7

8

9

8

8

9

7

8

8

6


Current Forecast:

Tahiti
Day Min Max Wind Weather
Wed
20th
26°C 30°C
NNE

8 kts

Thu
21st
26°C 30°C
NNE

7 kts

Fri
22nd
26°C 29°C
NE

4 kts

Sat
23rd
26°C 30°C
E

6 kts

Sun
24th
26°C 30°C
ENE

8 kts

General Information

Arrival & Departure

Fly to Papeete-Tahiti; connection is direct flight for Raiatea, we will arrange a transfer with our minibus or a taxi to the base.
Distance approx 30 Min by taxi. Cost 4 000 cfp each way (± 34 euros)

Servicing Airlines
International flights/International company:AIR FRANCE - AIR NZ -QANTAS - AIR CALEDONIE AIR TAHITI NUI - HAWAIAN AIR- LAN CHILE
Domestic flights: AIR TAHITI (Is the only domestic company available in French Polynesia).
AIRPORT OF TAHITI, TAHITI
AIR TAHITI company
AIR FRANCE
AIR NEW ZEALAND
CORSAIR/Nelle Frontieres
AIR TAHITI NUI

Customs / Immigration Information
Every visitor to French Polynesia must have a return airline ticket to their resident country or to at least two more continuing destinations, sufficient funds to support themselves while in French Polynesia, in addition to the following:

For U.S. and Canadian Citizens: A passport is required that is valid for six months beyond the date of departure from French Polynesia. No visa is required for stays of up to one month.
For French Citizens: A National Identity Card is required and it is advised to carry a passport that is valid for six months beyond the date of departure from French Polynesia. No visa is required for stays of up to three months.

New Zealand and Australian Citizens: A passport is required that is valid for three months beyond the date of departure from French Polynesia. No visa is required for stays of up to one month for New Zealand citizens and for up to three months for Australian citizens except for paid activities in French Polynesia.

Please confirm requirements pertaining to all other nationalities with the local tourist bureau.

Airport
Raiatea airport - Tahiti/Faa'a airport

Airport Transfers
Transfers from the airport to the base are not included. Clients may choose to purchase transfers in advance (via the booking location) or they may opt to catch a taxi upon arrival at the base.

Taxes / Departure Tax
There is no departure tax.

Taxi
Taxi can be easily hailed at airport.
The journey lasts 10/15 minutes and costs about 1500 Fcp (US$15.00).
Central Booking Office in TAHITI tel: 689.83 30 07
Central Booking Office in RAIATEA island tel: 689.66 20 60

Car Rental 
Foreign and International licences accepted. All the main car rental companies are present at the airport. You will find small car rental companies that offer very competitive daily rates. Avis /TAHITI tel: 689 41 93 93
Avis/RAIATEA tel: 689 66 20 80 FINI
Europcar /TAHITI tel: 689 45 24 24
Europcar /RAIATEA tel: 689 66 34 06
Garage Motu Tapu/RAIATEA tel: 689 66 33 09 FINI

 

General Information

Area: 4,167 sq km (118 islands and atolls)
Population: 287,032
Capital City: Papeete 
Official Languages: French, Polynesian (official), Asian languages
Ethnic groups: Polynesian, Chinese, local French, metropolitan French
Religion: Protestant, Roman Catholic, other.
Government: N/A - overseas lands of France
Industries: food processing, wood and paper products, textiles, machinery, transportation equipment, banking and insurance, tourism, mining
Tipping: 10-15% is generally acceptable if it has not been added already.
Currency: The Pacific Franc is the common money in French Polynesia.
Electricity:  220 Volts, alternating at 60 cycles per second. If you travel to French Polynesia / Tahiti with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 60 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts.  In order to use electronic equipment that is 110v or 220v, you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.  
Time: UTC/GMT - 10 hours.    
Festivals & Holidays
1 January: New Year's Day
5 March: Missionary Day
1 May: Labour Day
8 May: Victory Day
14 July: Bastille Day
15 August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8 September: Internal Autonomy Day
1 November: All Saints' Day
11 November: Armistice Day
25 December: Christmas Day


Moveable Public Holidays

2009

2010

Good Friday

10 April

2 April

Easter

12 April

4 April

Easter Monday

13 April 

5 April

Whit Monday

1 June

24 May

Hotels
Hawaiki Nui Raiatea Hotel
Tahas Private Island Relai & Chateaux
Sunset Beach Motel

Restaurants
La Croix du Sud
La voile D'Or
Club House

Post Office
A Post Office is located in Uturoa 5 KM from the base.  
Monday to Friday: from 7.30am to 3.00pm during week time and from 8.00am to 10.00am during weekends.  

Internet Connectivity
Internet access available at the base (briefing room). There are two internet cafes near the Marina. Huahini and Bora Bora also have internet cafes available. You can also find WiFi zones on each island.

Mobile Phones
The VINI net works everywhere around and if you have an extension for your own mobile phone you can use it in French Polynesia. Otherwise you can buy a SIM card to have a local number.

Tourist Information Centres
Tourism Information, TAHITI - Tel: (689) 50 57 00 
Tourism Committee Information, RAIATEA Tel: (689) 600 777 / fax: (689) 600 776 
www.tahiti-tourisme.com

Banks & Money Exchange

Banks
Uturoa you will find several banks each with a cash dispenser. 
Hours: 7:30 am - 11:30 am and 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Currencies / Money Exchange
Currency:  The currency used in French Polynesia is the French Pacific franc, or CFP. Though exchange rates vary, there are approximately 100 CFP to the U.S. dollar. Notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 5000 and 10,000, and coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. 
Exchange rate valid as of: 21/08/2009
€1 = 117 CFP
£1 = 136 CFP
$1 = 82 CFP
Accepted Forms of Payment: The Pacific Franc is the common money in French Polynesia.  Euros and US Dollars are accepted throughout the Leeward Islands. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted in most of the larger restaurants and supermarkets.

Activities & Sports

Fishing 
Thanks to the area's relatively low population, the waters around Raiatea and Tahaa are never depleted of fish. 
Fishing enthusiasts can charter a fishing boat for a half- or full-day.
Local fish include jackfish, mahi-mahi, marlin, sailfish and tuna. 
The base boutique has some trolling fishing rods with reel - costs $110 USD/ 84 EUR / 60 GBP per charter and comes with 2 lures. There are also extra lures for sale.
No fishing licence needed for leisure fishing. licence only required if you are selling the fish.

Snorkelling or Diving
Those wishing to scuba dive should bring their certification card. Some scuba diving companies provide a beginners' course. You will find scuba diving companies on Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora and Huahine. Some will allow you to rent the equipment if you have the proper certification and plan to dive with two or more people.
The hiring of diving gear can be arranged prior to charter or on-site.

Cruising Permits
Cruising permits are not required in Tahiti
Electricity Information
The standard current is 220 volts AC with European-style plugs.
The Moorings pier is equipped with 220V. power outlets.
The majority of our yachts are equipped with power cords, battery charger and 220V. plugs ( 220 V available only at the dock).
There is a 12V. cigar lighter outlet by the chart table on our yachts.

Provisioning (Food & Drink for your boat)
Provisioning can be pre-ordered and will be on your boat when you arrive.

Supermarkets
The nearest supermarket is located in Uturoa village.

Health & Safety
Vaccination and Immunization Information
Tahiti is generally risk-free of contagious disease. 
At time of publication, an International Vaccination Certificate is not mandatory.

Medical Information
French Polynesia enjoys a high standard of health, with excellent medical and dental services, pharmacies, private clinics and a large government hospital in Tahiti, which is open 24 hours.
The outer islands have hospitals or dispensaries, and a few private practitioners.

 

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Why book your charter with us?

CharterSearch is a trading name for Ocean Marine Group and we are an independent yacht charter agency specialising in bareboat, skippered and fully crewed yacht charters. We offer a complete charter package with high quality luxury yachts including sailing monohull yachts, catamarans and powerboats at extremely competitive prices.

We work with a large number of reputable charter companies, owners and operators worldwide and can recommend boats to our clients based on previous experiences, maintenance standards, customer service, and most importantly support they offer our charter guests. Feedback and reviews by our staff and our customers mean our advice is impartial and we will always have your best interests at heart. The team at CharterSearch all have vast experience and knowledge of the yacht charter industry having worked for many years for charter companies, travel agencies and sailing schools. We are in unique position to provide you with a first-class service.

We offer some of the most desirable cruising and sailing destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Asia, Americas, Baltic and Scandinavia. Our website will tell you everything you need to know about yacht chartering and you will find useful information, travel tips, weather and sailing conditions, along with example itineraries and of course boat specifications. Simply submit your enquiry, email or phone us and our trained staff will be happy to give you advice and answer any questions that you may have. Enjoy our website and we look forward to helping you arrange your yacht charter holiday.